Though people of a certain age might remember Norm MacDonald for his roles in Adam Sandler’s early man-child movies and an unfortunate series of appearances in now-forgotten comedies, he wasn’t always an annoying That Guy. He had an impressive streak in the early to mid ’90s during which he hosted SNL’s Weekend Update and graced various New York comedy clubs with his singularly derpy presence. Deemed the 83rd greatest stand-up of all time by Comedy Central, MacDonald always sort of seemed like an old man trying to fight his way out of a young man’s body. The guy could hold a stoic stare while he waited for the audience to catch up with his joke.
This weekend, MacDonald appeared on the Late Show, performing stand-up and delivering an earnest ode to his mentor. While talking about David Letterman’s deep influence on his stand-up, MacDonald called Letterman the greatest talk show host to ever live, and teared up as he fought back an obvious rush of emotions. He also told his favorite stand-up joke, which involves garbage trucks and a meddling bureaucracy.
MacDonald ended his emotional appearance with a simple statement directed at Letterman: “I love you.”